The assessment is in! The European Commission reviewed the 21 draft national energy and climate plans submitted by Member States 



Mary Connors

Publication date

January 11, 2024

The European Commission published its assessment of the draft NECPs in December 2023. The assessment presents a mixed picture; according to the Commission, at this stage, the draft NECPs are not yet sufficient to meet the EU’s 2030 targets. The European Commission mentions a clear need for extra efforts in light of the COP28 outcome and the global call to accelerate action this decade.  

The Commission’s in-depth analysis is based on 21 NECPs, which were submitted in time, while as of January 2024, they are still missing for Austria, Bulgaria and Poland. Member States which submitted their draft updated NECP several months after the deadline (Belgium, Ireland and Latvia) will receive recommendations in early 2024, while Member States which did not yet submit a draft updated NECP are urged to do so.  

The NECPs set out each Member State’s roadmap to collectively meet the EU’s legally binding target of 55% GHG emission reductions by 2030, and its energy and climate objectives. The assessment comes with a set of recommendations and individual assessments for each of the 21 Member States that submitted NECPs. 

The Commission assessment finds that: 

  • At this stage, draft NECPs are not yet sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030; current measures would lead to a reduction of 51%; 
  • Further ambition is needed to close a gap of 6.2 percentage points in the effort sharing sectors compared to the 40% target
  • There is a gap of around -40 to -50 MtCO2eq compared to the -310 MtCO2eq target under the LULUCF Regulation, showing an enhancement of the carbon sink is necessary; 
  • For renewable energy, the current drafts would lead to a share of 38.6-39.3% of renewables in the energy mix by 2030, compared to the 42.5% target
  • For energy efficiency, the current drafts would lead to 5.8% energy efficiency improvements, compared to the target of 11.7%

In terms of multi-level governance in the NECP drafting process, the Commission’s overall assessment is that only a few Member States have managed to involve stakeholders significantly in the process – such as local authorities-. The assessment describes more consultations than proper dialogues. 

“Local and regional authorities are important for the implementation of energy and climate policies. However, very few Member States demonstrate concrete evidence of how they involve them in the process of preparing the draft updated NECP and even fewer are building on an established multilevel dialogue for this process”.  

The LIFE-funded project NECPlatform sets up over 2.5 years multi-level dialogue platforms in 6 countries, to raise the voices of local decision-makers and stakeholders in the national energy and climate policies. How do the project countries perform in the European Commission assessment? 

The European Commission is positive about Portugal’s efforts to reach out to relevant stakeholders; the draft NECP provides evidence that Portugal collaborated with relevant authorities to update the plan. The Commission even acknowledges the role of the LIFE NECPlatform project: ‘Portugal has established a multilevel energy and climate dialogue as part of the NECPlatform project, organising sessions with different local and regional representatives’. 

In Romania, the EC is critical of the lack of transparency regarding the process. The draft NECP does not provide evidence that Romania worked with relevant authorities to update the plan, also, it is unclear to what extent local authorities were able to contribute to the draft NECP.  

The Croatian assessment is neutral but mentions the dialogues. ‘As part of the LIFE NECPlatform project, Croatia has established a multilevel energy and climate dialogue in the format of a series of thematic workshops. Between March and June 2023, the draft updated NECP was discussed in this forum with different stakeholders, including social partners’. 

Italy has involved local and regional authorities to update the NECP, but the Commission criticises the lack of transparency on results, information channels and timelines. 

France. Overall positive for France, the EC states the plan provides evidence that France reached out to and worked with all relevant authorities to update the draft plan but insists that consultations should continue.  

Bulgaria has not yet submitted the draft NECP. 

In our recent opinion piece published on Euractiv, Dialogue is part and parcel of National Energy and Climate Plans, we suggest that the European Commission specifically comment on the updated NECPs if it is evident that relevant actors were not adequately involved in the drafting process. Also, we advise to pay close attention to the quality of dialogues in evaluations, distinguishing between well-structured, robust processes and consultations.  

Member States must submit their final updated NECPs by 30 June 2024, taking into account the Commission’s recommendations and individual assessments. We hope that Member States will take the time they have left to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are involved in the process and engage them in ongoing dialogues.